Bellevue, Wash. – BlackBerry is returning to the T-Mobile lineup after a one-year lapse triggered by a spat between the two companies.
With the launch, the carrier and beleaguered smartphone maker “showed they're two companies in the business of listening to their customers,” the companies said in a statement.
The LTE/HSPA+ BlackBerry Classic will be available beginning May 13 at T-Mobile.com and in participating U.S. T-Mobile stores starting May 15 at $0 down and $18.33/month for 24 months for a total payment of $439.92.
T-Mobile joins AT&T and Verizon in offering the Classic, which initially became available in the U.S. late last year as an unlocked model at $449 on Amazon and at ShopBlackBerry.com.
The Classic combines the traditional look of the old BlackBerry Bold and Curve smartphones with the company’s latest touchscreen 10.3.1 OS. It also became available through Ingram Micro Mobility for resellers who target the enterprise market.
BlackBerry Classic is positioned as a productivity-first smartphone that combines the latest BlackBerry touchscreen 10.3.1 OS with the old BlackBerry Bold’s optical track pad, physical QWERTY keyboard, menu and back buttons, and dedicated answer/hang-up phone buttons. They physical user interface enables one-handed typing and phone calling, the company said.
The rift between BlackBerry and T-Mobile began in early 2014 when T-Mobile launched a promotion urging customers to switch from BlackBerry phones to iPhones. In a blog post at the time, Chen expressed outrage, saying the promotion was “clearly inappropriate and ill-conceived.” He later declined to renew T-Mobile’s license to offer BlackBerry products when it expired on April 25 of last year.
At that time, BlackBerry CEO/executive chairman John Chen, “Regretfully, at this time, our strategies are not complementary, and we must act in the best interest of our BlackBerry customers. We hope to work with T-Mobile again in the future when our business strategies are aligned."
Today, Chen said, “BlackBerry is proud to partner with T-Mobile once again to offer the world's most secure and reliable mobile products and services that encourage productivity…” With T-Mobile, he added, “we hope to deliver highly differentiated solutions that appeal to our mutual users: the power professionals who depend on their smartphones to get things done and make things happen."